Natural and anthropogenic processes affecting radon releases during mining and early stage reclamation activities, Pinenut uranium mine, Arizona, USA

David L. Naftz, Katie Walton-Day, W. Payton Gardner, Michael C. Duniway, Donald Bills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Radon (Rnair) was monitored in open air in publicly accessible areas surrounding the Pinenut uranium (U) mine during mining and reclamation activities in 2015–16 to address concerns about mining related effects to areas surrounding Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) in Arizona, USA. During July 2015, Rnair concentrations associated with the ore storage pile monitoring site were larger than those at the mine vent monitoring site and likely resulted from the relatively large amount of ore stored on site during this period. Higher wind velocities at the ore pile monitoring site generally resulted in lower Rnair concentrations; however, wind velocity did not appear to be an important factor in controlling Rnair concentrations at the mine vent monitoring site. Physical disturbances of the ore pile by heavy equipment did not coincide with elevated Rnair concentrations at the ore storage pile or mine vent monitoring sites. The relative size of the ore storage pile showed a positive trend with the daily mean Rnair concentration measured at the ore pile monitoring site. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to the ore pile and mine vent multivariate data sets for simultaneous comparison of all measured variables during 230 days of the study period. A significant positive coefficient for Rnair was associated with a significant negative coefficient for wind speed for principal component (PC) 2ore pile. Significant, positive PC2mine vent coefficients included Rnair, wind direction, and relative ore pile size indicating that Rnair variations at the mine vent monitoring site may be affected by Rn sourced from the ore pile. The ore pile is located about 200 m south of the mine vent Rn monitor with the prevalent wind direction coming from the south. All data generated during the field study and laboratory verification tests were published by Naftz et al. (2018) and are available online at: https://doi.org/10.5066/F79Z946T.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106266
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Volume220-221
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

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